There is a closeted gay high school athlete I know who needs some advice. Here is his situation:

Bill (not his real name) is a star athlete at his school, located in a rural area that is socially and religiously very conservative. He is a couple of years away from graduating. He hears homophobic slurs all the time, even from his coach. Bill has met another athlete who is gay (Brian) and the two have started to covertly date. Bill told me he has never been happier after meeting Brian, but now he has a dilemma:

"I have a huge problem on my hands. There's this girl that likes me — super likes me — and she's the girl at school a straight guy wouldn't pass up. She is constantly texting me. This girl has never not been asked out by a star athlete she's flirting with because she's that 'hot' and everyone will be shocked if I don't date her. And they will start to ask questions. They'll probably automatically jump to the conclusion that I'm gay if I say no to her. Brian is fine with me dating her as a cover as long as he knows he's the real deal for me. I don't want to date someone as a cover up, but if I don't date this girl or tell her I'm gay, I'm screwed."

Bill is very nervous about revealing himself to this girl since he is not sure how she'd react and whether she would reveal his secret. Even if she is fine with being rejected, Bill fears what his teammates will say about why he turned her down. His parents are also homophobic, so he has no allies save for Brian. He asked for my help and I got his OK to post this and get your comments.

Please be respectful in your comments and any snarky or rude comments will deleted. I know who Bill is and he is a young man really struggling with this dilemma. Put yourself in Bill's shoes – what would you do? Have any of you had similar situations when you were younger and how did you handle it? Thanks!

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